BEEKEEPING IN THE NORTHEAST - An account of my beekeeping, not a treatise of expertise, but for friends & family who wish to keep bees vicariously through me, and for the occasional apiarist passer-by.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Things You Can Do With Old Ten Frame Hive Components

Yes, this is me. Never used one of these before but sawing off one end of the super was much easier than trying to pry the nails out.

Every winter I struggle with what to use for a wind break. I almost broke down and ordered one of those British hives that are double wall constructed. With the new apiary taking shape, deciding to go with all 8 frame cyprus wood hives, I realized my 10 frame boxes would be rendered why not use them as a wind block? This appears so far to be a stroke of genius. Let me know if you have some insights I've missed about doing this.

As you can see, the eight frame super in the photo to the upper right fits perfectly within my old ten frame super with just enough air gap to spare to keep the box from sweating. Sweating is a real no, no, for the bees in winter. Can cause moisture to rain down causing hypothermia. The air gap allows for the wicking away of moisture. Not positive how this works, but it has been advised in everything I've read about insulating your hives. The front is left alone so the direct sunlight can give the bees a wake up call or a quick warm up without too much heat when voiding opportunities in the winter avail themselves.

The results are a nicely stacked wind shield. I'm so happy they sit so perfectly on the base. These are just loosely stacked.

While doing this I noticed the sun shining on one side of the hive especially. I realized, like our cold drafty old office at work, sometimes it is colder inside than out. I decided then to paint the stack a dark color using my handy dandy Super Paint coupon from Sherwin Williams. Why dark? This green has an LRV of 9 and so will absorb the heat rather than reflect it. If the bees are used to sun on that side, they stored their winter supplies there. If my insulation effort causes that side to be cooler for any reason, hopefully, attracting the sun, can assist in maintaining the dynamics inside the hive that the bees prepared for. I can use this paint in 35 degree weather. A warm up is predicted so I got out there this morning and went for it.

For more about how to choose paint for a beehive, see my blog post under the Red Path Apiary-AthenasBees.